1st International Congress of Musicology

Athens Goethe Institute, 25-27 February 2002

Paper Abstracts

Minas I. Alexiadis

The Social Dimensions of Jazz and its Relations to the Commercial and “Easy Listening” Music

The paper starts by exploiting the various jazz idioms, with references to their origins, their formation and through a historic perspective an analysis of the relation between representative improvised jazz and relevant idioms, such as dance music and other forms of American commercial and easy-listening music. At the same time, comments on the technical characteristics of jazz are being made, in order to distinguish jazz from these idioms. Further to that, an account of parameters is given, that define the social dimensions and function of jazz (the level of production, of perception, and of the diffusion-distribution of music). The above elements are correlated with the fact that, although jazz practically derives from the Afro-American minority, the proceedings of distribution and of diffusion, as well as its relations to the cultural industry, have always been under a “European-American” white communitys control. In conclusion, it becomes obvious that this special intensity and dynamics was to a large extent decisive for the stylistic progress of jazz idioms.

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